Pak Senate defeats yet another anti-terror bill linked to FATF compliance
The defeated legislation would have given powers to investigators to conduct undercover operations, intercept communications and access computer systems.Updated: Sep 16, 2020 22:12 IST
Pakistan’s Senate on Wednesday defeated yet another bill that sought to empower agencies investigating terrorist operations, in compliance with the requirements for terror financing watchdog FATF.
With this, the Upper House of parliament has voted against four out of seven legislations moved by the Imran Khan government to comply with the Financial Action Task Force. This is a setback to the government’s efforts to get Pakistan out of FATF’s ‘grey list’ and to prevent it from going further down to a ‘black list’.
The defeated legislation would have given powers to investigators to conduct undercover operations, intercept communications and access computer systems. It sought the insertion of Section 19-C in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) relating to application of investigation techniques.
The amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Bill, 2020, was rejected a day after the National Assembly, the lower house, passed it. It received 34 votes against it , while 31 voted in favour in Senate, in a major embarrassment to Khan’s government.
Last month, the 104-member Senate rejected the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, both also related to FATF compliance, objecting to some of the provisions and linking its cooperation to retraction of remarks made by Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem about certain leaders.
Pakistan was placed under the FATF grey list in June 2018 after the global watchdog found deficiencies in Islamabad’s money laundering and terror financing laws.
Last month, Khan’s government enacted laws and designated over 100 people as terrorists, in its desperate efforts to evade a possible blacklisting at the next FATF review meeting.
The meeting, which was initially scheduled for June and got postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is now expected to be held in October.